Duncan Watmore was delighted with his early return from long term injury, as he made an impact off the bench against Norwich City by scoring the final goal in Sunderland's 3-0 win.
One month early
Watmore was expected to be out for three months with ankle ligament damage, which he suffered back at the start of February, but resumed training last week with the first team. Therefore manager Sam Allardyce wasn't afraid to throw him straight into the heart of the action, as he brought him on for Wahbi Khazri at half time in East Anglia.
The England under-21 international made the most of his chance to shine as he put in a fine performance on the left wing and grabbed only his third goal of the season and second against Norwich to seal a crucial 3-0 win for Sunderland over one of their main relegation rivals.
Player's thoughts on return
When asked about his early return, Watmore said, "Credit goes to the medical department for getting me back ahead of schedule..." The 22-year-old added, "I'm grateful for getting the oppurtunity to go straight in and get 45 minutes."
The winger labelled 'roadrunner' by his manager was also very humble with his post match thoughts as well as being obviously delighted as he said, "I should have done better on a couple of breakaways." Watmore added, "Jermain's (Defoe) always making great runs and it's just finding him. That comes with experince and I'll learn to make better decisons."
In their own hands
Sunderland remained in the relegation zone after their convincing win at Carrow Road, but put saftey firmly in their own hands with the gap between them and Norwich now just one point with the Black Cats having a game in hand.
Therefore a draw against Arsenal on sunday would be good enough to lift them out of the drop zone with the canaries not playing untill the following weekend against the same opponent. Reflecting on the Norwich game, Watmore said, "we were all very confident, you could tell everyone was really up for it."
Watmore added, "it was a nice feeling afterwards, but we're nowhere near (safety) yet." A tough task awaits Sunderland with Arsenal coming to the Stadium of Light and the former Hibernian loanee acknowelged this as he said:, "we'll be focusing on Arsenal this weekend. We've got a couple of tricky games against good teams."
Watmore will hope he can continue to make an impact for Sunderland over the past five games of the season, as they face yet another tense battle to stay in the Premier League.